They’re adjusting to their new life at the pound but exactly where 100 chickens came from remains a mystery.

It was Thursday morning when reports starting pouring in about chickens on the side of the road in five different locations on the Saanich Peninsula. Central Saanich Police and some nearby farm workers helped wrangle one group on Wallace Drive while the North Saanich Fire Department managed to secure dozens of chickens in a pickleball court.

100 laying hens were collected and by Friday no one had stepped forward to claim them. And that has led authorities to think they may have been intentionally dumped.

“Chickens don’t travel that kind of distance, all spread out like that, it almost seems like they’ve been pushed off a truck or out of a vehicle,” said CRD Chief Bylaw Officer Don Brown.

Organic chicken farmer Mike Romaine says laying hens peak at about 17 months then they slowly stop becoming profitable. Since they aren’t typically eaten, he says many farmers are left figuring out how to get rid of them.

“I think you would pay a dollar plus if you had to take them to an abattoir to be slaughtered, so it leaves a farmer with very few options,” said Romaine, owner of Healing Farm in Saanich.

While he lets his hens live out their natural lives, Romaine says others, particularly smaller or struggling farms, could take drastic measures.

In B.C. you’re allowed up to 99 hens on agricultural land and since there’s so much farmland on the south island, the chickens could have come from anywhere.

“We’re hoping that maybe someone says oh so and so has chickens and now all of a sudden they don’t have any so that’s probably our most likely bet to get a lead,” said Brown.

If they were dumped, and they find the owner, Brown says they’ll pursue an animal cruelty investigation.

While cold and hungry when they first arrived the hens are in good condition and still at work, laying several dozen eggs since arriving.

And Brown says people have already come forward offering to give them new homes.

If you’re interested in adopting a chicken contact CRD Animal Control at 250-478-0624

April Lawrence